When a friend or relative passes away it is always an upsetting and traumatic time for everyone concerned.
The legal processes are often confusing and overwhelming particularly whilst dealing with grief.
We are able to assist you throughout these difficult times.
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SERVICE
APPLICATION FOR PROBATE (WHERE THERE IS A WILL)
On many occasions a grant of probate is required to allow the estate of the deceased person to be collected and distributed to the persons who are entitled to the deceased’s assets.
A grant of probate is a document issued by the High Court which enables the executors to administer the estate.
Occasionally you may wish to limit your instructions to us to applying for a grant of probate only.
How much does this cost?
Our fixed fee for this process can usually be limited to £1,500.00 plus VAT plus disbursements.
VAT at 20% amounts to £300.00.
The only standard disbursement is:-
the Court fee £273.00 (plus £1.50 per copy of the grant)
Total inclusive of VAT and disbursements £2,073.00.
This price is dependent upon you providing us with the following information/documentation:-
- The original valid will;
- A property valuation in respect of any properties;
- Valuations of all assets including bank and building society accounts at the date of death;
- Any liabilities including funeral costs;
- Original death certificate.
This price also assumes that:-
- There are no disputes between the beneficiaries or the executors;
- There is no inheritance tax payable (https://www.gov.uk/browse/tax/inheritance-tax)
- There are no claims to be made or likely to be made against the estate;
- There are no additional issues requiring the completion of a longer form of tax return known as an IHT 400 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inheritance-tax-inheritance-tax-account-iht400)
How long will this work take?
Upon receipt of the above information and documentation there is no reason why the application for probate cannot be completed and submitted to the court within 28 days. Turn around times are inconsistent and variable so please ask us for details. Originally the process takes no more than 8 weeks.
APPLICATION FOR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION (WHERE THERE IS NO WILL)
When someone passes away without leaving a valid will the process to allow the family to administer the estate is very similar to a probate application (see above). This process is known as an application, again to the High Court, for letters of administration. We will explain to you who is entitled to apply for a grant of letters of administration which is dependent on which living relatives survive the person who has passed away.
How much does this service cost?
The cost and time period involved in making an application for letters of administration are usually the same as making an application for a grant of probate.
The fixed fee of £2,073.00 which includes VAT and disbursements is based upon the same factors and considerations as listed in the previous section (application for grant of probate).
On occasion, commonly when you are unable to provide the information and documentation referred to above, or where there are other complications, our costs will be likely to exceed the fixed fee. On these occasions we will discuss matters fully with you and advise you regarding the full extent of our fees before you decide whether you wish to proceed.
ADMINISTRATION OF AN ESTATE
On many occasions you will require us to administer the estate which will mean we will need to carry out significantly more work than simply applying for a grant of probate or letters of administration. This work may include:-
- Registration of death;
- Making funeral arrangements;
- Valuing estate assets;
- Identifying estate liabilities;
- Calculating any inheritance tax due from the estate (https://www.gov.uk/browse/tax/inheritance-tax)
- Completion of estate tax return;
- Applying for grant of probate/letters of administration;
- Realisation of assets;
- Arranging discharge of inheritance tax due;
- Settling liabilities of the estate;
- Publishing statutory notices;
- Identifying/tracing beneficiaries;
- Bankruptcy searches;
- Preparing and agreeing estate accounts;
- Distributing the estate.
How much does this service cost?
We undertake the administration of an estate on a fixed fee scale of between 3% – 5% of the gross value of the estate. This does not include VAT or disbursements.
The disbursements might include:-
- Court fees;
- Valuers fees;
- Experts fees;
- Enquiry agent fees in tracing missing beneficiaries;
In certain circumstances we can agree a fixed fee below the minimum scale of 3% (e.g. extremely high value estates with few complications).
We will agree the precise percentage fixed fee to be charged as soon as we have all of the information required to establish the nature and composition of the estate and will advise you of any disbursements to be incurred.
Factors which will be taken into account in determining the percentage fixed fee will include:-
- Whether the estate is taxable;
- Whether the estate incudes properties;
- Whether there is a stocks and shares portfolio;
- Where the extent of the assets is wide and variable;
- Where there is foreign property;
- If beneficiaries are missing or have to be traced;
- Where there are numerous beneficiaries (particularly where there is no will);
- Where there are or are likely to be claims on the estate
How long will the Estate Administration Take?
It is difficult to be precise regarding timescale when administering an estate. This is often affected by the involvement of third parties such as HMRC, banks and building societies, stock brokers, estate agents and valuers.
On average it takes no less than 6 months no more than 12 months to complete the work. We will always provide you with a time estimate at the commencement of work and advise you immediately should any factor(s) impact upon this time estimate.
WHO WILL CARRY OUT THE WORK?
We have a dedicated team of expert lawyers with considerable experience and expertise in dealing with Wills, Probate & Estate Administration, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Trusts. The team is supervised by Nigel Miller, the Solicitor who heads the department.
We provide an efficient, transparent and common sense approach and pride ourselves on our communication skills and accessibility.